We’re all just particles moving in random motion.

Ashley Chang
3 min readAug 16, 2023
Photo by Pablo Heimplatz on Unsplash

I’m sitting at my local coffee shop. The coffee shop is busy, but I don’t recognize anyone here. When I drive around my town, things look a little different too. They’re doing construction (but really it’s more like a complete reconstruction) on the schools that used to spend eight hours a day.

All my friends have moved away or are on some type of post-grad trip. I’m realizing that going forward from now on, my reunions with people from high school will only become more few and far between.

In high school, whenever anyone asked about what I was excited to explore in college, I would respond with one word: independence. I’ll admit now that I didn’t really know what I was talking about back then though.

Independence seems to be a reoccurring theme in my life. As I transitioned from high school to college to post-grad life, I realize almost yearly how easy it is to lose touch with someone and to part ways in life, even in this day and age where we’re all already perpetually connected online.

There are people I used to spend every single day with that I don’t talk to anymore. There are many people I have reconnected with after losing touch for years.

Some mental shifts I made in college

I try not to make promises.

The more I live, the more I don’t make promises. Things don’t feel permanent or definite. Staying in touch requires effort and action, yes. But circumstances play a significant role too. We may not have the energy necessary to maintain a consistent friendship across the world, and that’s okay.

I don’t want to force things.

Sometimes a friendship with someone gets stale when you force it. The more we grow into ourselves and evolve, the more friendships we had may not come as naturally. Forced friendships are more difficult and less fulfilling, so why should we spend our precious time and energy on that?

The memories of historically epic and meaningful friendships have the potential to be tainted by an incompatible present or future. Maybe we’d be better off if we left it at that.

Einstein is a philosopher: we are indeed just particles moving randomly in our world.

Einstein’s theory of Brownian motion states that particles in motion move randomly within their substance. This motion leads to constant random collisions.

More and more I find myself thinking about how we’re just like those particles, constantly moving randomly and colliding with each other.

The journey

Spending more time with myself and regularly making life-pivoting decisions in this transitory phase of life (college and the things that come with it) has really pushed me to these conclusions and helped me gain my sense of independence.

Gaining independence, to some extent, is a mental journey. Of course, there are physical ways to gain independence such as through financial independence or moving out. Still, I would argue that it’s more about mentally feeling okay on your own and depending on yourself.

There are still times when I feel lonely or insecure, which makes me spiral into feeling dependent on my support system. But most of the time, I do feel pretty empowered and independent. If I could talk to my high school self, I’d tell her that she did learn what it meant to be more independent.

Hope you enjoyed or resonated with this rambling about my independence journey. Follow me for more posts like this about mindset, college/post-grad, productivity, tech, etc.

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Ashley Chang

22-year-old NYC-based software engineer | Writing about the life lessons I'm learning along the way.